A picture of Queens Park. the Ontario Parliament Building with Christmas wreaths hung from the lamp posts with the caption that reads: December Thirty-first is an important day. Don't forget the AODA

Accessibility Checkup: AODA Compliance Reporting for December 31, 2023

It’s not winter (yet). But, as the year progresses towards December 31, 2023, organizations operating in Ontario face an important responsibility – submitting their accessibility compliance reports under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This mandatory self-assessment ensures that businesses, non-profits, and designated public sector organizations with 20 or more employees are committed to meeting accessibility standards. Non-compliance can result in significant penalties, making it crucial for organizations to take this process seriously.

Covers Various Aspects

The AODA’s accessibility compliance report serves as a vital self-assessment tool for organizations in Ontario. Businesses, non-profits, designated public sector organizations, Ontario Public Service, and Ontario Legislative Assembly are required to answer specific questions based on their organization category and number of employees. These questions cover various aspects, including workplace emergency response, AODA and Human Rights Code training, and the presence of a multi-year accessibility plan.

Addressing Requirements

Organizations that employ individuals with disabilities need to offer personalized emergency info, making sure it’s accessible. Moreover, they should provide employees with proper training on AODA and the Human Rights Code as it relates to disabilities. Those with multi-year accessibility plans must display and update them on their website regularly.

For businesses with online content, accessibility requirements primarily apply to public-facing websites and digital documents and downloadable content. However, if an employee requests accessible content or digital documents, including PDFs, employers must accommodate these needs.

Starting the Reporting Process

To begin the reporting process, organizations must download the AODA compliance reporting form from the government’s website and save it on their computer. The form contains mandatory fields that organizations must complete before moving forward. Download your forms from the Ontario Government website.

Required Details for Reporting

The form requires specific details, such as the organization’s legal name, 9-digit business number (BN9), or an AODA identifier (if applicable). Organizations need to provide their organization category (Ontario Public Service/Ontario Legislative Assembly, Designated Public Sector, Business, or Non-profit), the number of employees in Ontario, and contact information for the certifier – a director or senior officer with the authority to confirm the report’s completeness and accuracy.

Filing for Multiple Organizations

One reporting form can be used to file compliance reports for up to 20 organizations. However, each organization must share the same details, including organization category, number of employees range, certifier, and responses to accessibility compliance questions. This feature streamlines the process for larger organizations or parent companies with multiple subsidiaries.

Review and Submission

Organizations should thoroughly review the accessibility compliance report summary before submitting the form. Save progress anytime for internal reviews before final submission. After completion, organizations must choose to Save and Submit. This generates a confirmation number showing success or issues to address.

Commitment and Obligation

In conclusion, AODA compliance reporting is a significant obligation for Ontario organizations. Companies with 20 or more employees, must underscore their commitment to providing an accessible public-facing presence and an accessible workplace for individuals with disabilities. As December 31, 2023, draws near, organizations must prioritize the accurate completion and timely submission of the accessibility compliance report to avoid penalties and contribute to a more inclusive society for all. Embracing this responsibility fosters a workplace that values diversity and ensures equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their abilities.

Following Through on Your Commitment

In completing this mandatory self-assessment and reporting, it may well illuminate some areas that need attention, and highlight where you will need strategy… and help. The most obvious place to start is at your organization’s digital front doors. Do you know if your website or public-facing digital documents are accessible and compliant? CDP is ready to assist! Reach out and let’s start working on your digital and document accessibility roadmap together. We have you covered for everything from training to service to toolsets. As importantly, an overlay or widget will not solve all of your problems. It is crucial to develop a plan and execute it as a process. CDP is by your side all the way through. Reach out to us today at ua@cdpcom.com

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